50th and France quickly emerges from the pandemic

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A renaissance is underway in 50th and France, the shopping district tucked away in the affluent areas of Edina and southwest Minneapolis.

At a time when other urban centers are in difficulty, new stores, restaurants and fitness studios are opening in “the district”.

Altar’d State, which offers clothing aimed at teenage girls and young women, occupies the first corner of Sur La Table. Nearby, the flagship store Evereve has just reopened in an enlarged space. Foodies can find “progressive” Indian food, sushi, clean juices, and steak fries. A New Orleans supper club and plant-based burgers are on the way.

Meanwhile, a proposal for upscale condos is being submitted to the City of Minneapolis while a two-bedroom unit is rented for $ 4,995 at the new Nolan Mains residences where residents can go out to find concerts or entertainment. story time in the square belonging to the town of Edina. built as part of the development.

A forward-thinking public-private partnership combined with one location, one location, one location has propelled the latest wave of openings. Steele Smiley, the founder of Crisp & Green, calls the 50th and France “the most important intersection in all of Minnesota.”

“You have this mix of neighbors and you have people who like to hang out in the neighborhood who are a stone’s throw away,” said Smiley, who will open Stalk & Spade next year with the plant-based burger menu of the. 50th rue de son Crisp & Green Front.

The pandemic, along with the already difficult retail environment for many brick and mortar chains, has had an impact. Closures at 50th and in France included Sur La Table as well as the much-loved Edina Cinema. But owners and business owners have taken advantage of these losses to reinvent themselves.

“A lot of the retail didn’t talk about the population that came and lived around the 50th and France,” said Howard Pastor, whose company acquired the 50th Street Plaza building in 2017. “There was. lots of clothing suited to an older, somewhat more conservative demographic. “

His vacancies are filled by ALTR, a group fitness studio opened in the former Banana Republic space which closed in 2019. Stalk & Spade will open early next year in the vacant space once occupied by Cooks of Crocus Hill. Pastor’s has also signed on with a trendy furniture retailer he’s not ready to name.

The surrounding neighborhoods within walking distance, along with high daytime traffic and plentiful parking, make the 50th and France ideal for shopping, according to real estate and retail experts.

“It just means stability,” said Kim Novell, assistant professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas. “If you’re talking about the expense of opening a brick and mortar store, you need a stable environment for it to be successful.”

The southwestern portion of the metro, including Edina, has the highest daytime population after pre-pandemic downtown Minneapolis, said Stefanie Meyer, senior vice president and director of the Mid-America Real Estate Group. These are the people who work within a five-mile radius and may stop for a bite to eat or shop during a lunch break.

While demographics were key to Self-Esteem Brands’ decision to open Method Bar’s first business location in Minnesota this year, next to its Basecamp Fitness, one of the main reasons was the hundreds of new parking spaces next door in the North. ramp, said Traci Elder, vice chairman of the Woodbury-based parent company.

“For our members, just knowing that they can come in, park and within 30 seconds of being at the door to train, it makes a huge difference,” Elder said.

Buhl Investors developer Pete Deanovic is the force behind the Nolan Mains development which includes 100 “residences” as well as 32,000 square feet of retail space that houses a mix of eclectic boutiques and restaurants as well as national brands. The company has partnered with Saturday Properties on Nolan Mains.

“A lot of what’s happening in the neighborhood is the result of the development of Nolan Mains and the energy, effort and creativity and the retailers and restaurateurs that Pete has brought in,” said Pastor.

Deanovic left CarVal Investors to launch Buhl Investors in 2014 in order to continue developments with a sense of community. “If we can create places where people can come together,” Deanovic said, “that’s an indicator of our success.”

When Edina City officials issued a request for proposals to expand public parking on Market Street while simultaneously creating a bustling clientele destination, the plan prepared by Buhl Investors & Saturday Properties which included new apartments, spaces shopping and a 5,000 square foot public plaza won out. Public parking is now underground with public space and shops at street level.

The City of Edina sold the site to the developers and pledged $ 10.1 million in additional tax funding to reimburse Buhl Investors for part of the $ 78.5 million cost of redeveloping the site.

At the same time, the town of Edina invested $ 12 million in the expansion of the north parking ramp, located in front of Nolan Mains. The parking lot expansion included two new retail spaces and two large-scale public art items.

As consumers started to go out more this year, investment in the neighborhood began to pay off as restaurants and retailers began to see sales increase.

“Our business at Hi, we’re beating 2019 numbers and we’re not completely open,” said Phil Roberts, partner of Parasole Restaurants which includes Good Earth, Pittsburgh Blue and Manny’s steakhouse. “We have tables that we don’t sit on because we can’t find qualified waiters. There are so many pent-up demands to go out.”

Gretchen Weisman, owner of the high-end resale store Fashion Avenue, has seen her sales increase almost every year since she took over the store 28 years ago until it closed for two months due to the pandemic. Customers flocked thereafter, but the pace quickly picked up this year. “Because of the new luxury apartments and the new training venues,” Weisman said, “you receive different people besides the regulars.”


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